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Re: conlanging and journaling

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Monday, February 11, 2008, 20:21

On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 19:31:01 +0000, Jan van Steenbergen wrote:

> It has always been my opinion that conlanging is primarily an art.
Yes. I also consider it an art.
> Just like music, literature, painting etc. A good artist has a > personal style, which makes his art recognisable as his own, and > distinguishes it from the work of others. A work by Stravinsky or > Picasso, no matter in what period it was created, can instantly be > recognised as such. Can the same be said about conlangs?
I think there is something like that. Compare Old Albic to Germanech, and compare both to, say, Qthyn|gai. You will probably notice that the former two are more similar in style to each other than to the latter. My style can be characterized as "naturalistic-diachronic", while some other conlangers show a radically different style. Henrik Theiling, for instance, displays a more "abstract", engineering-heavy style, though in his more recent works, he has moved considerably towards diachronic naturalism.
> And, more > importantly, if a conlanger is also a painter / composer / poet / > whatever, is there a link, stylistically speaking, between his > language(s) and his other art?
I think, yes. My style, not only in conlanging but also in visual arts, writing and music, is leaning towards the rich and sophisticated, progressive but not really avant-garde. (I have made some attempts towards avantgardism, but found out that it doesn't work out very well to me. I found that I couldn't create anything even remotely comparable to what was already there.) It is also that I am drawn towards making a gesamtkunstwerk. I am planning to do illustrations of the world of the British Elves (a few drafts already exist), and write music with "Elvish" themes and lyrics in Old Albic. I also have plans for novels and short stories set in the world of the Elves. The "solarpunk" near-future world (which I haven't posted much about here, since it doesn't involve conlangs) is also meant to become a gesamtkunstwerk of that sort.
> > > I have the impression that nowadays there are a lot of conlangers > > > who actually started conlanging AFTER they saw conlangs online. > > > They start conlanging because there are others doing it as well. > > > [...] > > > > Yes. Old Albic would not be the way it is now without the online > > conlanging community. Many of its features are inspired by what > > I saw in other people's conlangs. Well, nobody exists in > > isolation; we are all influenced by what we see around us. > > That is certainly true. Yet, I would still describe you as a > conlanger of the Old School, i.e. somebody who started conlanging, > while being completely unaware of the fact that other people are, or > might be, doing the same. For me that is definitely the case. When I > made my first attempts at conlanging, I'm pretty sure I had never > heard of Quenya or Klingon; all I knew about constructed languages > created by others was Esperanto, but that's an entirely different > kind of thing. On the other hand, I also think the conlang community > has heavily influenced my work; the very fact that I think expanding > and improving a language is worth the effort alone is an example of > that.
I started conlanging at a time when I had only very cursory, rudimentary knowledge of the existence of conlangs, but had not explored any conlang in detail. It started at a time when I had already heard of the existence of Esperanto (but that was all I knew of it), and I had already read _The Lord of the Rings_ and thus had seen the examples of Quenya and Sindarin in it (but again, I knew nothing about the structure of those languages, nor had I realized that the Hymn to Elbereth and Queen Galadriel's Lament were written in two different languages. It was just that I began fiddling around with fictional worlds in my early teens, and it was only consequential to me that fictional worlds included fictional languages! My early conlangs, however, showed little of linguistic interest; they were mostly following the languages I knew back then, which were German, English and Latin (but one of them had suffixaufnahme - which I "discovered" without having read about it existing in any language). ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf